Pacific Standard

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Pacific Standard
Editor-in-chiefNicholas Jackson
CategoriesEnvironment, solutions-driven journalism, social issues, health, public policy, economics, social science, education
PublisherSara Miller McCune
Total circulation
(June 2011)
Founded2008 (2008)
Final issue2018
CompanyThe Social Justice Foundation
CountryUnited States
Based inSanta Barbara, California

Pacific Standard was an American online magazine that reported on issues of social and environmental justice. Founded in 2008, the magazine was published in print and online for its first ten years until production of the print edition ceased in 2018 and it transitioned to an online-only format,[2] which folded in 2019. Pacific Standard was published by The Social Justice Foundation, headquartered in Santa Barbara, California.

On August 7, 2019, Nicholas Jackson, editor-in-chief, stated on Twitter that Pacific Standard was to close after its primary funder abruptly cut off all funding.[3] On June 2, 2020, the CEO of Grist, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, announced that Grist had bought the Pacific Standard and would be keeping an archive of the magazines' articles online.[4]

Background: Miller–McCune years[edit]

Pacific Standard, formerly Miller–McCune magazine, was launched in 2008 by Sara Miller McCune, the founder and head of SAGE Publications. It was named one of the year's "hottest launches" by MIN magazine[5] and received the same honor from Library Journal the following year. It also received the 2008–2009 Society of Environmental Journalists Award for Outstanding Explanatory Journalism and the Utne Reader Independent Press Award 2009 for science/technology coverage. In 2010, Miller McCune was named by Folio magazine to the FOLIO: 40 list of publishing innovators: "At a time when print is becoming a secondary product for many publishers (in mindset if not revenue), Miller–McCune is succeeding with long-form journalism."[6]

In 2010, the magazine launched Miller–McCune LIVE, a special events program to bring articles to life through comprehensive debate featuring industry leaders. The first debate, on lobbying, took place in September in Washington, D.C. The second debate was held in New York City in November with panelists Sree Sreenivasan and Rachel Sklar, who dug into the effects of social media on "real life" and ways to humanize the Internet.

In-depth pieces include stories such as "Native Environmentalism and the Alberta Oil Boom", "Global Warming: the Archaeological Frontier", "When Facebook Is Your Medical Record", as well as "Art and Alzheimer's: Another Way of Remembering", the story of Hilda Goldblatt Gorenstein (Hilgos) and the documentary "I Remember Better When I Paint".[7]

Transition to Pacific Standard[edit]

In April 2011, editor John Mecklin announced his resignation, citing "creative differences" among other reasons.[8] On May 17, the organization announced that Maria Streshinsky, former managing editor of The Atlantic magazine, would become the editor-in-chief of the magazine.[9]

On February 17, 2012, Miller–McCune announced that the magazine's name would be changed to Pacific Standard as of the May–June 2012 edition.[10] In a May 2012 interview, Streshinsky said that the publication's new name reflected its taking a "western" perspective: "We want to tell the nationally important stories that are coming out of this side of the country, and from the edges of the Pacific.... So many of the nation's biggest shifts have come from the West, and we want to showcase that."[11]

As of January 2014, the magazine enjoyed its largest website traffic month ever. It continues to get most of its funding from SAGE Publications, with much smaller amounts from subscription, newsstand, and website revenue.[12] In 2014, Pacific Standard was nominated for its first-ever National Magazine Award, presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors, in the category of General Excellence for Literature, Science and Politics Magazines.[13]

In 2015, digital director Nicholas Jackson was appointed editor-in-chief, and senior editor Ryan Jacobs was appointed deputy editor.[14] They quickly brought on creative director Taylor Le[15] and executive editor Jennifer Sahn.[16] Jackson repositioned the magazine to tell "stories that matter," focusing most heavily on social and environmental justice.[17] In 2017, the magazine was honored with its second National Magazine Award.[18] Also in 2017, Pacific Standard' nonprofit parent changed its name from the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy to The Social Justice Foundation.[19]

Readership and topics covered[edit]

The magazine was created for opinion leaders, policymakers, and concerned citizens who are interested in developing solutions to some of the world’s toughest social and environmental problems. Its target readers are "influentials" who read The Economist, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, and Wired, but former editor-in-chief Streshinsky differentiated Pacific Standard by focusing on the behavioral and social sciences.[20]

In an interview, Streshinsky said:

"... we’re also committed to producing old-fashioned, well-told, deeply reported magazine journalism on subjects and characters of national interest or curiosity—we just want to do it in a way that is especially steeped in the relevant research literature and intellectual context. We value great storytelling and cogent analysis as much as anyone else on the block. And we love “conceptual scoops”—the kind of piece that can powerfully, sharply, and accurately reframe the reader’s understanding of an important, complex subject."[20]


  1. ^ BPA Worldwide[dead link]
  2. ^ Jackson, Nicholas. "The Next 10 Years of Pacific Standard". Pacific Standard. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  3. ^ @nbj914 (August 8, 2019). "Today is an extremely difficult day" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Brady Piñero Walkinshaw (June 2, 2020). "Grist has acquired Pacific Standard". Grist. Grist Magazine, Inc. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  5. ^ "min magazine 2008: Hottest Magazine Launches". November 10, 2008. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
  6. ^ "Sara Miller McCune, founder, Miller McCune-Magazine". Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "Miller-McCune website". Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  8. ^ "Miller–McCune editor's resignation letter: 'I will be a thoughtful guest and leave'". Archived from the original on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012., Retrieved May 15, 2012
  9. ^ "Miller–McCune Names The Atlantic's Maria Streshinsky as Editor-in-Chief" (PDF). Pacific Standard. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 25, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Announcing Our New Name". February 17, 2012. Archived from the original on February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  11. ^ Wihbey, John. "Research chat: Pacific Standard editor Maria Streshinsky". Journalists Resource, Retrieved May 15, 2012
  12. ^ Sarah Laskow, "Meet the 6-year-old mag that just took the internet by storm", Columbia Journalism Review, January 28, 2014.
  13. ^ "National Magazine Awards 2014 Finalists Announced". Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  14. ^ "RD Recap: New Hires at; Changes at Pacific Standard". Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Pacific Standard Adds Two to Masthead: Taylor Le Named Creative Director; Ted Scheinman Joins as Senior Editor". Publishing Executive. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  16. ^ "People on the Move - Folio". Folio. August 19, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  17. ^ Jackson, Nicholas (April 5, 2016). "Introducing the New". Pacific Standard. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  18. ^ "Mother Jones Wins Magazine of the Year at 2017 Ellies". Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  19. ^ "Pacific Standard magazine now published by The Social Justice Foundation | SAGE Publications Inc". September 6, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  20. ^ a b "How to Pitch: Pacific Standard". Mediabistro, Retrieved July 23, 2014

External links[edit]